Staffing firms – like other professional service providers – rely heavily on client satisfaction and service quality to retain accounts, build their talent pipeline, and differentiate from the competition. As such, NPS can be a leading indicator of revenue retention, growth, and brand differentiation in a crowded marketplace. 

What is NPS?

Net Promoter® Score (NPS) is a client satisfaction and service quality metric based on a single survey question that asks staffing clients how likely they are to recommend your firm to a friend or colleague. Clients respond using a numeric scale of 0-10, ten being extremely likely and zero being not likely at all.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the % of detractors (those who respond with a 6 or lower) from the % of promoters (those who respond with 9 or 10). Click here for a more detailed look at the NPS methodology.

NPS is unique because it offers standardized measurement and reporting on client satisfaction and service quality that can be applied across the staffing industry as a whole, at the brand-level, within lines of business, and even by account manager or recruiter.

Staffing Industry NPS in 2019 – Client Ratings

Staffing firm NPS is a target topic for ClearlyRated & CareerBuilder’s annual Staffing Advantage Report, and in 2019 staffing clients reported an NPS score of -2% (our sample focused on staffing providers in the U.S. and Canada).

Staffing Client Satisfaction – measured as NPS

Client Satisfaction Chart 2019

Year-Over-Year Staffing Industry NPS (Client Ratings)

Client Satisfaction Line Graph 2019

For reference, global NPS standards classify 50% NPS as excellent and 70% NPS as world-class. And recognizable service leaders like Nordstrom have an NPS of 75% compared to Comcast, a notorious service laggard, whose clients give them a -1% NPS. Click here to learn more about the NPS methodology.

The overall Net Promoter Score for clients of staffing firms has fallen fairy significantly, moving from 11% in 2018 to -2% in 2019. This is the lowest level of satisfaction seen in the staffing industry since 2015 and this negative NPS  now means that there are more Detractors of their primary staffing firm than there are Promoters. With this landscape, staffing firms must work diligently to stand out in an industry that currently results in more dissatisfied than satisfied clients.  There’s much work to do before client satisfaction in the staffing industry can be considered healthy – and to differentiate on service your firm’s client ratings will need to align more closely with service-leaders’ (like Nordstrom) than service-laggards’ (Comcast).


Staffing Industry NPS in 2018 – Candidate Ratings

Please note: Industry benchmarks for candidate ratings are not available for 2019. The charts below reflect our most recent research from 2018.

For talent (placed candidate) NPS – the trending data shows a slightly different narrative. While staffing firm satisfaction ratings from talent (24% NPS) are higher than from clients (-2% NPS), there has been little fluctuation over the past few years.

Placed Talent Satisfaction – measured as NPS

Placed Talent Chart 2018

Year-Over-Year Staffing Industry NPS (Placed Talent Ratings)

Placed Talent Line Graph 2019


In today’s tight labor market, candidate satisfaction can determine your firm’s ability to build a healthy pipeline of quality talent, fill job orders in a timely manner, and continue to win business with existing (even new) clients. Staffing firms who wish to differentiate on service quality shouldn’t be content with the industry average of 24% NPS from placed candidates – strive to make your firm an industry leader with 50% NPS (or higher) ratings from talent.   

Side note: While the industry NPS in 2018 is a few points higher than it’s low-mark in 2016 and 2017, it’s important to note a few micro-trends in the data. First, 34% of candidates who worked with staffing firms in 2017 said their satisfaction with their staffing firm provider had decreased in the previous year (versus just 12% who said it had increased). Similarly, 33% of candidates who have worked with staffing firms in 2018 report that they do not plan on utilizing a staffing firm again for their next job search. These micro-trends tell a deeper story about the risks of complacency in your approach to service quality.


How does your firm stack up? 

If you’re not already leveraging NPS at your firm, we hope you consider this article a call-to-action. Not only do client satisfaction, talent satisfaction, and service quality represent opportunities to differentiate in an increasingly commodified service industry, they are fuel for firm growth. 

And if “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” – then you certainly won’t be able to improve it either.

Next Steps

  • Ready to get started with NPS? Contact the ClearlyRated team for insights, best practices, and a tour of our survey platform (designed specifically to support professional services firms).
  • Considering a survey program? Our veteran team of survey experts has compiled a Satisfaction Survey Checklist for Staffing Firms to help you avoid common pitfalls and build a road map for a successful client survey initiative.